Cologne: 16.–18.06.2024 #spogagafa

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"Meet Our Visitors" with Jens Westerwelle, Managing Director Procurement, VME

15 Jun 2020

Jens Westerwelle, Managing Director Procurement, Möbelverband Einrichtungspartnerring VME

Jens Westerwelle, Managing Director Procurement, Möbelverband Einrichtungspartnerring VME

The Corona crisis is currently also presenting procurement with huge challenges. We spoke about this with Jens Westerwelle, Managing Director Procurement with Möbelverband Einrichtungspartnerring VME.

Dear Mr Westerwelle, what is the current situation like for the shareholders you represent? How have your members gotten through the Corona crisis so far? • Were your members also able to find something positive in the crisis (e.g. acceleration of digitalisation, deceleration of processes)?

Westerwelle: On the whole, the activities and investments of recent years have paid off to the extent that the present new infrastructure has proven to be very beneficial during the corona crisis. Our good data structure for online shops, the PIM system in the association and the IT structure with O365 and Teams® immediately made it possible for us, despite all protection measures, to never allow communication to be interrupted entirely. On the whole, the shareholders and the association determined that we very quickly had very good experiences with consistent digital communication. This development will continue in a surprising breadth, because we are only at the start here. With regard to the processes, we are currently involved in discussions with the industry, especially about product data and fast furniture projects. That has worked well up to now. However, the discussions have become more open against the background of the events of past months.

Your shareholders are telling us that garden furniture has made an enormous jump this year, and we are pleased to hear that they also intend to visit spoga+gafa this year. What products will they be focusing on when visiting in 2020?

Westerwelle: These are primarily always the assortment ideas of the main suppliers, which are of great interest to us, although many products have already been chosen at the point in time of spoga+gafa for advertisements and the assortment business for 2021. However, we also use the trade fair to gain an impression of the assortment developments of other international manufacturers and to test new suppliers. The exhibition halls with the providers of grill equipment are of course on the agenda of our procurement committee.

In 2020, many exhibitors are focusing on the theme of sustainability for their product innovations. Is the trade also looking increasingly at the degree of sustainability of the products?

Westerwelle: Sustainability is an important theme for us, not only for the products and materials, and their production, but also with a view to packaging. Especially for the coming CO2 taxation, the theme of recycling capability becomes very important – but also the use of recyclates.

Dear Mr Westerwelle, many thanks for your time. We look forward to being able to welcome you to spoga+gafa in Cologne from 6 to 8 September 2020.